Cat Bells

The distinctive shape of Cat Bells with its undulating ridge makes it a popular choice for both visitors to the Lake District and local walkers. The mountain straddles the side of Derwent Water, and those who reach its summit are rewarded with views of the lake and the town of Keswick.

We have classed this as a medium-difficulty level fell, as some beginners may find the first section of the route particularly steep, and there is a small amount of scrambling involved.

The Route

Cat Bells

Cat Bells

The route begins at NY 246 211 with a fairly steep climb up a stepped path that some beginners may find off-putting. However, perseverance will be rewarded with excellent views from the summit.

The route to the top is fairly straight forward with little opportunity for deviation, but does involve some scrambling over rocks, which can be intimidating if you are new to fell walking. Once at the summit, enjoy the view of Derwentwater, before beginning your descent by continuing straight on over the summit.

You will reach a crossroads at Grid Ref NY 244 191. Turn left onto the bridleway which forms one of the Lake District’s accessible routes (you can also choose to ascend this way if preferred). 

This path zig-zags down the mountain, and then straddles the road along the base of the mountain before returning you to the car park.

Useful Information

Parking: There is a limited amount of free car parking available on the side of a narrow lane near to Hawse End at Grid Ref NY 245 211; This can be accessed via the village of Portinscale just outside of Keswick, following signs to Hawse End and then to Skelgill; In peak periods this car park fills up very quickly and so it’s best to get there early

Start Point: Grid Ref NY 246 211; Once you have parked, head back down the lane towards the cattle grid, and a stepped path is on your right leading up the fell

Summit: Grid Ref NY 243 198; 451 metres above sea level

Distance: Approximately 4 miles

Terrain: The ascent involves a stepped climb and some scrambling over rocks; The descent is on a well maintained bridleway

Total Time (Ascent & Descent): 3 hours

Suitable For: Adults with moderate fitness; Older children


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